Warren County tallies seven pins en route to wrestling win over Skyline

FRONT ROYAL – Warren County High School 132-pounder Hunter Jost enjoys the chance to bat leadoff for the Wildcats’ wrestling team in dual matches, as it gives him an opportunity to build the team some early momentum. The junior certainly got the ball rolling for the Wildcats on Wednesday night.

Taking on cross-town rival Skyline on the Hawks’ home mat, Warren County piled up seven pins en route to a 49-21 win, its fourth straight head-to-head victory over Skyline and the second this season.

It was Jost, a two-time VHSL Class 3 state tournament qualifier, who began the night with a first-period pin of Maxim Keel to start a run for the Wildcats that included six pins in the first 10 bouts of the night.

“Me, our 138-pounder (Bobby Hunger) and our 145-pounder (Connor Jost), we call ourselves ‘Murderers’ Row.’ I like starting that,” said Jost, who improved to 36-3 this season. “I like starting the row, and then the row starts the team. My mentality going is I would love to be first and get it over with, win or lose – preferably win – but if you’re last you’ve got to go the whole match watching your team wrestle and then get in the mentality of wrestling.”

Instead, Hunter Jost got to sit back and watch his teammates follow his lead.

Hunger earned a quick pin of Wyatt Spiker at 138 pounds, and Connor Jost posted a 14-4 major decision victory over Talon Keel at 145 to give Warren County a 16-0 lead.

A pair of Skyline victories that came in sudden-victory overtime sandwiched Nic Herring’s 8-2 decision over Sam Brown at 160 to cut Warren County’s lead to 19-6, but the Wildcats reeled off four straight pins to build a comfortable 43-6 lead.

Senior 182-pounder Wyatt Gill started the string of falls with a pin of junior Jacob Grady in 43 seconds, posting what Wildcats head coach Matt Wadas said was one of the most impressive performances for Warren County over a “high-quality kid.”

D.J. Almarode followed suit with a second-period pin of Ethan Gue at 195.

“Pins are our major goal for everybody on the team,” Almarode said. “We’re pin-oriented. We always want those bonus points so we can win in this fashion.”

Nathan Johnson pinned Skyline’s Taja Showers late in the first period at 220, and Andrew Johnson decked Dathen Montoya in 57 seconds at 285 before the lineup turned over.

“It (132 pounds) was a good weight for us to pull. They’re definitely really strong at the lower weights and we’re strong at middle and upper,” Wadas said. “It was a good weight for us to pull and it got us some momentum. Pinning was around at Warren County long before I was here but we’ve tried to keep that tradition and you can see not only does it help us win, but man it’s contagious.”

Dylan Becker picked up Warren County’s final win of the night, a second-period pin of Logan Maiatico at 120 pounds, but Skyline shined in the rest of the lightweight matches.

Hawks freshman Tyler Davis beat Brandon Mason, 14-6, at 106, Brandon Ahlemann picked apart Aidan Ward for a 16-0 tech fall at 113 and Morgan Robinson capped the night with a pin in 58 seconds of Wildcats senior Raphy Souza.

Skyline also came out on top in the two most competitive bouts of the night.

In a tightly contested match at 152 pounds, Hawks sophomore Anthony Domino handed Isaiah Frame his sixth loss of the season with a 6-4 win in sudden-victory overtime that drew praise from head coach Matt Keel. The lead changed twice in the first 35 seconds of the third period before Frame tied the match at 4-all with an escape with 55 seconds left, and Domino scored the winning takedown with 10 seconds left in the extra frame.

Derrick Coleman scored a similar victory over Warren County’s Francisco Meza Rodriguez in the 170-pound bout, as he tied the match at 9-9 on a takedown with 15 seconds left in the third period and earned the 11-9 decision with another takedown with nine seconds left in overtime.

“I didn’t see anybody quit,” Matt Keel said. “Wrestling’s all about working hard, and grit, being able to deal with setbacks and adversity. I checked attitudes after matches and yeah, you’re supposed to be upset right after a match but you know what, they’re handling it. They’re not happy. They wanna win. Happy ain’t the right word, but we’re OK. We’re a young team. (The Wildcats) are tough. They’re not just older – they’re good. They’re good at wrestling. And that’s the type of people we wanna wrestle.”

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